Looking Unto Jesus
“Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:2
There are three things to consider here, 1) The direction of our focus 2) The result/reward of our journey and 3) What it’s going to take to get there.
We have a goal(s) we want to reach. From the start we need to acknowledge that it’s going to take longer than we first thought and it’s going to be harder than we thought. That said. Let’s look at some practical realities. This passage is about attaining the fullness of our walk as Christians from the time we are born again until we meet Jesus face to face at the moment of our death or in rapture, whichever comes first. It is also about the practical considerations of everyday living. How many times over the years have you said, “Alright, this time I’m going to change this or that habit or physical, material, mental or emotional condition once and for all.”
With all your heart in that moment you think you are making a solid unwavering decision. And for all intent and purpose in your mind you are.
So, you start out with every intention of reaching the goal and somewhere along the way, usually very early in the process, you hit a roadblock or you face an intense temptation or challenge that sets you back and you fail to reach your goal.
After a few or many tries, sometimes spanning years, you finally just give up or you keep setting your goals further out in the future.
Is this what God intended for us? No. And we don’t have to fall victim to the failure cycle any more if we set our goals and fix our focus on the right prize. Whether the goal is physical, to lose weight and get in shape, mental, to break a bad habit or relieve stresses and anxieties, or spiritual, to be the person God has recreated us to be, to be more Christ-like daily in our words and our actions, the means of success is the same. We must look unto Jesus.
That means, we must make the decision to focus all our attention on following His Word, listening for His voice, that is, the voice of the Holy Spirit in us, and heeding what He says.
Once, when I was travelling and ministering in Sweden I heard the story of the man who met a farmer on the road and asked him for directions to a certain place. The farmer said to the man, “You see the road here?” and the man said, “Yes.” Then the farmer said, “Well, look down the road as far as you can see, then look a bit further.” There was a brief pause and I suddenly got it and began to laugh at what appeared to be the humorous absurdity of the farmer’s directive.
Obviously, that’s impossible in the natural to look as far as you can see and then look further, but over the years I’ve thought about that story and I ‘ve come to realize there is something fairly profound in its implication. Looking farther than you can see with your physical eyes is to look with your spiritual understanding and faith in God’s Word to a future that will come, and a joy that will be realized.
That’s what Jesus did. As far as we can see with our physical eyes is the extent of our human limitations. We can see the problems and we can see our human frailty and weaknesses that hinder us from living up to the challenge. If we could have accomplished our goals by our human will alone we would have done it long ago. But, our failure to reach the goal time and time again is proof that we can’t do it on our own. We need help and that help is looking unto Jesus.
To look unto Jesus is to consider His way of handling the buffeting, the shame, the suffering, the sacrifice, the struggle, the temptations and the weaknesses of the flesh. He endured because His focus was on the prize of seeing us restored to right standing with the Father, free from the bondages and death because of our sins and iniquities and transformed into His image as sons (and daughters) of God. That was His focus.
Now our focus is to be made like Him. So we look to Him, we keep our physical and spiritual eyes on Him (looking down the road as far as we can see and then a bit farther) so that we do not fall prey to the things that are contrary to our goals.
We can do this now once and for all if we will fix our gaze on Jesus and nothing else.
Let’s agree together now to lift one another in prayer as we set our hearts and minds to reach for the ultimate prize of being reunited with God the Father, as well as the day to day goals of laying aside every weight and the sin that does so easily beset us, looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith.
Let’s pray for one another daily that we will look unto Jesus and we will reach our goals and attain the daily and the eternal prize.